Cochlear implants, coupled with rehabilitation, can help young children to acquire speech, language and social skills.

Receiving a cochlear implant early in a child’s life provides exposure to sounds that can be helpful during the critical period when children learn speech and language skills.

A cochlear implant is very different from a hearing aid. Hearing aids amplify sounds so they may be detected by damaged ears. Cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve.

For children with severe-to-profound hearing loss, cochlear implants can make a significant difference in their quality of life.

While the decision to use cochlear implants can be a personal one, there are many reasons why the devices can benefit children. Being able to hear sounds in their environment helps keep children safe and they can more easily mainstream with their peers. Not all children, however, are candidates for cochlear implants.

Criteria for Cochlear Implants in Children

For children with severe-to-profound hearing loss, cochlear implants can make a significant difference in their quality of life. However, there are certain criteria for the use of cochlear implants in children.

Criteria for Cochlear Implants in Children

Criteria for paediatric cochlear implantation include:

  • 12 months of age or older

  • Severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears

  • Inability to benefit from a hearing aid or other prosthetic device for communication

  • Parents and/or families of patients must demonstrate a clear motivation to function (or have their child function) within a general community that depends on spoken communication

  • Must be enrolled in an educational program that emphasizes development of auditory and verbal skills

  • Patients must not have a medical condition that places them at high risk for surgery

  • Parents and families must be committed to attending regularly scheduled training, mapping and follow-up sessions following implantation

  • No medical contraindications